Did you know that the month of May is Celiac Awareness Month? We decided to dedicate this month’s Hive Spotlight to Honey Stinger Mountain Bike Team rider Scott McCalmon. Read below to find out more about Scott’s story as it relates to celiac disease.
Where is home base?
How did you get into mountain biking?
I started mountain biking in Maine when I attended a boarding school to play ice hockey. Riding was my chance to get away, be with friends, and explore new places.
When were you diagnosed with celiac disease?
I was diagnosed in 2006 when it was not well-known, and there weren’t many gluten free options available. I’ve always loved eating, so having to restrict my diet was challenging, especially since most foods in my kitchen contained gluten. Two days after being diagnosed, I cried because I was so hungry and didn’t know how to read labels to correctly identify gluten.
What helped facilitate the lifestyle change?
I have an incredible wife who helped clean out our kitchen and who started learning how to cook gluten free with me. We could not eat out because restaurants at the time didn’t know what gluten was. It took about two weeks post-diagnosis before I started to feel in control of my diet, as I figured out what I could and could not eat. It was still challenging, but I learned to be more prepared and to bring my own food.
How have you adjusted your training and racing nutrition since discovering you had celiac disease?
It was extremely difficult at first, 12 years ago, so I stuck to a gluten free drink mix and the original Honey Stinger Energy Gels. Now it’s much easier with many gluten free options, like the Energy Chews and Gluten Free Energy Waffles.
What is your favorite gluten free Honey Stinger product and flavor?
I love Honey Stinger Energy Chews. All the flavors are delicious but my favorites are Fruit Smoothie, Cherry Cola, and Pomegranate Passionfruit. Yum!
If you could leave us with one gluten free fueling tip, what would that be?
Since “gluten free” became a fad diet, restaurants often say food is gluten free when in fact its gluten light and not safe. If I eat out, I always have to say I have celiac disease and will get really sick if I eat gluten. Basically, it’s always safest to eat at home.
And finally, what is your goal for the future?
I’m trying triathlons for the first time this year, both Xterra and a 70.3. I’ve wanted to do a full Ironman to push myself in other sports. I’m not getting any younger and I have good fitness, so I’m going for it.
Scott’s words of wisdom:
Always be happy. Never be satisfied.
*To take advantage of our Celiac Awareness Month sale, visit the Honey Stinger website. All certified gluten free products are 20% off through the end of the month!